With a final score of 281.100 at home, the Cougars defeated Hawai’i Pacific for the second time after losing points to Baylor in the second half Tuesday, March 18. This leaves the Cougars with a 3-2 record going into the rest of the season.
Azusa Pacific kept a lead against both teams until the last team event, ending up almost two points under Baylor, but still beating Hawai’i Pacific by three points.
With a strong lead before the fifth event, APU continued its strong tumbling success. Even with a shoulder injury taking junior flyer Heather DiSpaltro out of the event, the Cougars still won it by less than a point. Freshman base Ariel Rumbawa stood in for DiSpaltro in tumbling.
“We knew we could beat them, so it’s just a step back to go further,” head coach Colleen Kausrud said. “I told the girls before we got the scores that it doesn’t matter. You guys went out there and did what you were supposed to do. You came together and you looked strong.”
In the final event, the Cougars scored a 98.850 out of a possible 110. According to Kausrud, the team did not throw a toss in the routine, causing Baylor to bump APU down to second.
Even with the injury and the last-minute loss to Baylor, Kausrud was proud the team performed well. The squad had to pull together to make up for its missing player, she said. According to Kausrud, Rumbawa, who is new to the team, performed well for being put in at the last minute to cover the injury.
“Throwing someone in that’s green and hasn’t been in … since two meets … she did well,” Kausrud said. “She is a freshman and put under a lot of pressure and she ended up staying in the air … and hit her tumbling.”
The next meet will take place at home Monday, April 7 against the undefeated Oregon Ducks, last year’s NCAA champions. The APU team will continue to make adjustments to losing a key member of the team.
“It’s just going to take everything in the next two weeks to pull it together,” Kausrud said.